10 Sites for Royalty Free Images

By Christine Trimbur

When looking for images for a website, many publishers continue to produce cheap and cheesy stock photos that become the representation of their brand.

Truthfully, high-quality stock photos don’t have to come with a high price tag. We’ve compiled a list of 10 resources for free, quality photos that you can use for blogs, websites, or other online properties.

1. Negative Space
Negative Space produces new, free images each week. All of the photos come without any copyright restrictions.

Even better than a host of free images is the easy-to-use filter that will help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Images are sortable by copy space position, category, and color.

2. Death to Stock
The founders of Death to Stock, Allie and David, realized how difficult it is for bloggers, businesses, and creatives to find free, high-quality photos, they decided to do something about it. Thus, Death to Stock was born.

Simply provide your email address and a new batch of photos will be delivered every month.

They do have a premium membership with a percentage of those profits used to fund photography trips and creative projects.

3. Picjumbo
New photos are added daily to Picjumbo making it a go to place for many bloggers, web designers, and other creatives looking for high quality, free images.

The photographer, Victor, also has unique paid programs for designers, bloggers, and agencies, as well as a plugin for Sketch and Photoshop.

4. Stokpic
Stockpic’s photographer, Ed Gregory, adds up to 10 new images every 2 weeks that can be used on a website, in an ad, or wherever your needs are.

5. Kaboompics
A web designer, Karolina, who is from Poland, produces Kaboompics. Her photos cover a wide variety of categories from food to fashion to landscapes. Users can use the images for anything they’d like – even commercial use.
All Karolina asks is that you include a photo credit with a link back to the site.

6. Startup Stock Photos
Startup Stock Photos’ tag line is “Take ‘em, these things are free. Go. Make Something.” So, be inspired by the plethora of images available for use.

7. Freerange
All the images provided by Freerange come from a pool of in-house photographers as well as external contributors.

According to their website’s About Us section, “Images provided directly by Freerange Stock originate in one of two ways. They are either digitally photographed on Canon DSLR cameras or they are a high resolution (4000dpi) Nikon scan of an original 35mm slide.”

8. LibreShot
The creative force behind LibreShot is SEO Consultant and photographer Martin Vorel. There is a wide variety of images to choose from ranging from florals to architectural.

9. Fancy Crave
The photos provided through Fancy Crave are free of copyright restrictions and absolutely stunning. All the photographer requires is that you give photo credit.

10. Unsplash
Unsplash provides 10 new photos every 10 days that you can do whatever you want with. The images are unique and never cheesy.

Using these resources will provide you with a plethora of quality images absolutely free.

Best Video Production and Editing Tools for Windows 10

By Christine Trimbur

Video is one of the most engaging and relevant formats for content available. And this trend is expected to continue for quite some time. Each day, Facebook sees approximately 8 billion video views. More than that, global video traffic is expected to reach 80% video by 2019.

If you want to tap into this lucrative market, you will need a decent understanding of the types of video editing software available. The following list contains software options that are free and Windows 10 friendly.

1.VSDC

VSDC is a multifunctional solution. It includes a video editor, a screen recorder, a slideshow creator, among other features. It has been named among the best free video editing software for PC by TechRadar online magazine, the GoPro community, and several YouTuber channels.

VSDC boasts a wide array of tools for a variety of purposes. It will work wonderfully for quick video touch ups as well as serious project requirements. There are more than 30 color filters, including Instagram-style presets. There is a plethora of video effects, including Chroma Key, split screen, picture-in-picture, video inside a text, video side-by-side, and numerous transitions.

VSDC works great even if your computer isn’t top notch.  Even if your PC only has 2GB of memory left, it will work well. It will also open any file, no matter what device was used to record the footage. Then, when you export your file, you can choose pre-configured profiles to upload to social networks.

2. OpenShot

OpenShot is much more minimalistic. However, this software gets the job done fast due to its drag-and-drop editor. For first time users, there are pop up tutorial windows helping the user utilize the software best.

It boasts over 3000 transitions. There are also some essential effects such as Chroma Key and blurring. Users can also apply actions “in bulk” rather than having to apply it to each part.

3. Shotcut

Although it has a minimalistic interface, Shotcut is able to perform all essential video editing operations. This includes film restoration, white balancing, and footage stabilization.

There is a real time preview making applying effects very convenient. What makes it really stand out, though, is the Chroma Key tool. This is perhaps the reason TechRadar named it among software options that would replace Windows Essentials.

4. Avidemux

Avidemux is the simplest of all the software options. Basically, you can cut, copy, paste, and encode. This software is for those with no interest in post-production bells and whistles and only require to cut out a piece of footage.

5. DaVinci Resolve

DaVinci Resolve is an excellent option for those looking for a professional video editor.

Lynda and Udemy offer online courses on DaVinci Resolve because this software has a pretty steep learning curve. However, Hollywood-level color grading might be worth it to you.

There are two downsides to this software. First, it will use your PC GPU to its max. Be sure to have a powerful graphic card installed and a good amount of memory available. Second, there are issues with recognizing particular formats of files.

6. Videopad

Videopad is a multifunctional software for editing, audio and video recording, and screen recording. The free version is called demo and can only be used for personal use.

If you use it, it might remind you of Movie Maker. It is much more robust, though. There are multiple audio and video tracks available and the text editor offers a number of decent effects.

7. Hitfilm Express

Hitfilm Express is popular among YouTube bloggers who add special effects. It is a cross-platform software that works on both Windows and Mac. It has a very unconventional interface, though.

There are tutorials on how to apply effects in Hitfilm Express.

8. Windows Photos App

Windows Movie Maker was a simple, free video editor that was discontinued in 2017. Windows 8 and 10 launched without a video editing app, but following the Fall Creator’s update, there is one hidden in the Microsoft Photos app. It is a good tool for those who want to make a good-looking video without mastering complicated software.

You’ll need to import your photos and video into the Photos app. Then select the folder you want to add. Click create and choose “custom video with music.” Then just follow the prompts and your video is done in seconds.

Removing Emotions from Business Decisions

Creating your business enterprise from the scratch can make you get attached to it on a personal level. This is completely justified as your business is your baby. You put your heart and soul to shape it up and make it substantial. Owing to these factors you might not be able to make informed decisions which are free from any personal bias.

However, there comes a time when you are stranded in a tricky business situation and you have to make a decision. At this time, separating business from emotions becomes crucial. The situation may be firing a close relative due to their underperformance. Or it could be the shutting down of a product because of its inefficiency. Either way, you need to understand the impact of an emotional hindrance in business decisions. So to help you in this state of dilemma, we have a list of ways you can separate emotions from business decisions.

1. Quantitative Aspects:

When the emotions cloud your judgments, simply resort to the metrics. Putting concrete figures and numerals into perspective can help you form informed decisions. For this, you need to maintain a database of all the performing aspects of your business. Keeping a record on every move they take can prove beneficial in taking mindful steps in your business. This can help you ascertain where the productivity lies and where it doesn’t. Consulting the analytics can give you a rigid business perspective to help you make a reliable decision.

2. Meticulously Research on Your Decision:

Before undertaking any decision one must conduct a thorough research. However, when it comes to deciding for your own business this becomes all the more imperative. Researching can help you have a fresh perspective premised upon evidences and observations. You can refer to various management books or search the internet to lay down a comprehensive research.

3. Have a Different Perspective to the Situation:

You need to step outside the situation and view it from a third-person viewpoint. If you’re not able to do that, then, having a trusted outsider or a mentor can do this for you. Momentarily detaching yourself from the business is the key here. Have a rational perspective and approach the situation as if you’re a layman. Creating a fresh and detached perspective will help you in seeing the bigger picture.

4. Refer to the Past Records:

Looking back into the previous decisions you undertook will definitely help you mapping your next decision. Take a look at all your previous decisions, ones where you failed to deliver and ones where you succeeded. These will help you ascertain your decision-making pattern. It will also reflect on what works for your company and what doesn’t. You can use these past instances to derive a mindful decision.

5. Do Not Exhaust Yourself:

When you are held in a position of tough decision-making, you often lead to overstress and eventual burnout. Avoid arriving at such a health haphazard. Sometimes the best way to decide something is to sleep on it. Having a well-rested night will do most of the work for you. Your mind can process all the information more efficiently and much faster with an unperturbed mind. When the next day you’re feeling more present, then you can take these risky business decisions. There is no harm in stalling them for the right time.

6. Take a momentary Break:

Decisions made on a heavily emotional state of mind are more often than not, irrational. So when you are faced with a heated situation filled with emotions, you should excuse yourself. There are hardly a few decisions that need attention right away. Usually, decisions can be taken when you are in a more stable frame of mind. Taking a momentary breather will help you gain a fresher standpoint and outlook on the situation. Your decision will naturally be more sensible.

7. Taper Your Options Down:

The more options you have the harder the process of decision-making becomes. This may seem contrary to common belief. However, when it comes to taking a complex business decision, it is better that you limit your options. It is just like going to a mall for shopping. The more clothing options you see, the harder it becomes for you to pick one, as opposed to having to pick an outfit amongst say 5 options. The same logic applies here. Before settling down to seal the deal with one option, try narrowing the list down. This will not only make your job smooth but it will save your time.

8. Consult the Majority:

Personal biases while taking business decisions can prove to be a major hindrance, which is why it is highly advisable that you consult the masses. Asking for a second opinion when taking a major business decision that involves big risks can come handy. You will be surprised by the number of refreshing ideas and perspectives you will receive. So when in doubt, ask the majority.

9. Do Not Rely on your Gut:

Rule of thumb or intuition should not be your only premise upon which you base your decisions. Having instincts is necessary for identifying threats and opportunities. However, you should jot down all the facts and figures before creating a business evaluation. Creating a list of pros and cons, assessing your progress from your decision pattern, referring to the metrics, considering all the external factors etc. are a few examples of how you should approach a business situation.

Wrapping Up:

The level of attachment you attain with your business is because of the level of dedication you place and the number of hours you spend in perfecting every little detail. However, having emotions impede your judgment can get in the way of your profitability and success. In order to make smart decisions practice these tips and you will surely witness a difference in your decision-making style. Do not get carried away by emotions and stay as rational as you can. One major tip that will always come handy is to try to avoid involving close relations in your business dealings. We hope these tips will help you.

 

FTC Shuts MOBE Down – Alleges Fraudulent and Trickery

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent body of the United States of America. FTC is a watchdog that practices vigilance against potentially deceitful organizations. It also keeps an eye on business houses that might be violating consumer rights and creating holes in the economy. FTC practices effective and speedy law enforcement towards the aggrieved party.

Having said that, FTC has charged MOBE with misleading and fraudulent business practices. MOBE or “My Online Business Education” supposedly sells a “21-steps” program. This “simple” program claims to be able to help consumers generate a considerable income without actually having to sell any concrete products or services. According to the allegations made by the FTC, MOBE has skimmed about $125 million dollars from its customers. Read along to find out the intricacies of this case.

What’s The Whole Case?

The Federal Trade Commission halted MOBE’s functioning and had the federal court freeze all of their assets. This is owing to the recent allegations by FTC on MOBE. The FTC has charged 3 individuals for falsely swindling around $125 million from a multitude of consumers by selling a falsified business model (MOBE).

According to the investigations of FTC, the culprits behind the scam target several US customers. These consumers included mostly veterans and older adults. MOBE duped these consumers via ads on social media, e-mails, and live events throughout the states. The investigation also proved that the perpetrators claimed that their business model will allow its customers to have their own businesses and earn a hefty income from it.

Evidences upon which the accusations have been premised are derived from several sources. Undercover agents of FTC, declarations signed by victims of MOBE, hotels, payment processes etc. all have given enough testimony.

About MOBE

MOBE worked by having its customers enrol in a 21-step program that will allow them to mint money by means of social media marketing. In order to enrol in the 21-step system, customers had to pay the sum of $49 as an entry fee. Thereafter, the enrolled consumers were flooded with packages for memberships that amounted to thousands of dollars. Consumers are compelled to go through with the payment of these packages as they were promised the “proven” 21-step strategy.

The biggest scam in MOBE appeared when it was revealed to the customers that the “proven” program for earning money is by doing the same with other consumers. In short, MOBE is not only extracting money on falsified claims but is propagating the same means of earning money to its members.

MOBE thrives on deceiving uninformed consumers. It tricks them into working for MOBE via means of selling more memberships of the same sort. In exchange for this, MOBE offers commissions, the more memberships you can sell the more commission you will churn. The high-end memberships are sold at a ridiculous amount of $29,990.

Not only that, MOBE operated by encouraging people to put their own ads on the social media and create different websites to promote the membership at MOBE. The customers were asked to copy emails and keep a record of all the evidences of getting others signed up for the membership at MOBE. To expand their scope of membership, MOBE sold add-on products to their member. This included the email ids of all those people who were more likely to enrol in the membership scam of MOBE. The perpetrators at MOBE repackaged and renamed their “21-step” system and sold it under different labels. Some ads reported displaying exaggerated and over hyped headlines in order to deceive consumers. These ad headlines were unbelievably attracting and promised them a six-figure salary without much hassle. Senior citizens were tricked via ads that read “easy retirement…..6 figure salary” etc.

According to the finding of FTC, several tricked consumers buy into these pricey memberships and end up with crippling losses. Consumers have suffered mounting debts and are unable to recoup with the loses of such high magnitude.

The FTC also claims that MOBE further makes its trickery concrete by claiming to have a refund or money-back policy. This leads the consumers to believe that the program is risk-free and safe. However, they do not practice these claims in actuality. They refuse to initiate refunds when asked and only honor their claims when consumers threaten to complain. This is how MOBE has been practicing its unfair trade practices under the radar of law enforcement agencies.

According to the allegations by FTC, the only thing MOBE sells is more memberships at MOBE. Resultantly, consumers who somehow managed to achieve targeted results by attracting more MOBE memberships fell into deeper pits financially. As revealed by a fine-print statement buried under all those attractive statements read an “average consultant will generate less than $250 dollars annually”.

Defendants & Aftermaths

The defendants of this case include Matthew Lloyd who also goes by the name Matt Lloyd. He is from an Australian origin currently residing in Kuala Lumpur. Other defendants related to this case are Susan Zanghi and Russell Whitney. Along with three individuals, the involvement of artificial bodies like MOBE ltd, MOBEProcessing.com, MOBETraining.com, Matt Lloyd Publishing, MOBE Pro Limited and Home Business Builders is existent.

The commission vote placing an approval on the allegations and complaint amounted to 5-0. The District Court of Florida in the Orlando Division issues a TRO against the perpetrators. This took place on 5th June this year.

Note that this is not the permanent judgment over this scam. Post-filling of complaint by the Commission this proceeding has taken place. This proceeding is temporary and the case has to be decided by the trials of the court.

Wrapping Up:

MOBE scam has all of us shaken to the core. It is saddening how after all these acts and reforms produced to protect the consumer’s rights, customers from around the world are still so misinformed. The financial loses faced by the consumers is unmeasurable. On top of that to be able to pull off a scam of such great proportions will surely have its repercussions. MOBE will be held accountable for the financial holes created by it and the justice will be served.

Scarcity Mindset VS Abundance Mindset

There is a big difference between a scarcity mindset and an abundance mindset.

Abundance Mindset

A person with an abundance mindset has a deeper inner sense of self-worth and security. People with this type of mindset believe that there is more than enough for everyone. They are happy most of the time just because of the fact that they see the world as a field of endless possibilities and a “joy that creates more joy”.

A person who has an abundance mindset….

  • Shares joy and love. These types of persons are aware of the unconditional love that the higher power has for everyone in this world and they never stop sharing the gift with others. Instead, they make room for more and enjoy their lives with their loved ones.
  • Has a higher purpose. Persons with abundance mindset select their goals and aspirations based on what they truly want instead of what others want or what others have achieved.
  • Think that every moment is perfect. They think that the entire world is a vast field of unlimited possibilities. That there is no right or wrong for doing something that makes them happy.
  • Believes that money is so easy to earn. Though many people find it very difficult to earn a living, people with abundance mindset think that earning an income is just a matter of your beliefs on what you hold about wealth because it sets your behavioral pattern accordingly. They think that money is present in abundance in this entire world and it just depends on how people think which could block the flow of wealth in their lives.

Scarcity Mindset

People with a scarcity mindset is the total opposite of those who have an abundance mentality. Unlike, abundance mindset, these people believe that there will never be enough which often results in feelings of stress, fear, and anxiety.

People with this type of mindset create different opinions about the world and most of their opinions are negative. They think that the world’s supply is limited, which creates some sort of scarcity programming on their heads.

A person who has a scarcity mindset…

  • Thinks the world has limited goodness. They are too realistic to the point where they think that whatever joy they feel at the moment won’t last long enough. They believe that a person can’t have more than the limited amount of happiness in their lives.
  • Often competes. Competition is tough for people who have a scarcity mindset. These people think that if someone else succeeds in life, they will fail. They live their lives just to get more than what others are getting.
  • Thinks that you only get one chance. They believe that someone needs to learn and gain everything in school because learning ends after college when in reality, they’re not. This is one type of thinking that was confined to those who have a scarcity mindset.
  • Spends and hoards money. They spend their money excessively because they think that if they don’t spend them too quickly, something might happen if they don’t use it. So they spend it as soon as they get it. Also, these type of people has fear of investing their money because they are too afraid that their money will only go away from them to others in one way or another.

The world can be divided into two categories based on how people view the world. You can view the world as abundant or scarce and it all depends on the mindset you adopt. It also depends on the path your life takes but whatever the reason, these two cannot co-exist.

 

Technology is removing Humans from the workforce…How safe is your job?

It seems like artificial intelligence is replacing humans from the workforce and simply not to make the industry more efficient.

Robots are coming for your job. In to a report by McKinsey Global Institute, almost 375 million jobs in the world will completely vanish by the year 2030. In a recent study by Oxford in 2017, they predicted the job loss will go up to 47% within the span of 50 years. Additionally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report states that almost 1.4 million jobs will be gone in the U.S. in just 8 years!

Here’s an infographic that shows how these raw data affects greatly affect the human workforce:

The above infographic shows that in the US alone, around 48 billion hours of work will soon be done by robots and artificial intelligence instead of humans. The equivalent of this is that around 300,000 of working lifetimes will be gone!

Researchers found out that a staggering 95% of jobs were more likely to be replaced by automation, together with the hours lost as well as the equivalent in working lifetimes. What’s more alarming is that these jobs aren’t the only ones in jeopardy but these jobs are just the ones whose future looks least promising.

With the above information, still some experts believed that the issue is just overblown for 3 basic reasons:

  1. The U.S. workforce system has succeeded well over the past years in terms of technology and automation adaptation. While going forward could pose a challenge, it will likely to increase its response time.
  2. Since the 1960s, almost all warnings about higher unemployment and automation have proved incorrect.
  3. Policies for entrepreneurs are rushing forward in advancing guaranteed income and “end of work” schemes.

On the other hand, the recent talks in World Economic Forum suspect that the exponential advances in the technology could be too swift for the human workforce to adapt to. Below are some of the occupations that have completely gone and under threat from robots:

  • Switchboard operator
  • Bowling alley pinsetter
  • Lift operator
  • Film projectionist
  • Knocker-upper
  • Bridge toll operator
  • Cashier
  • Train station sales assistant
  • Factory worker

What happens if robots take the jobs?

The recent technology trends pose differential impacts based on the age, gender, income, race and ethnicity of the working humans. There are particular groups of individuals who are at more risk than others when it comes to the emerging technologies and its ramifications for the workforce. What’s clear is that those jobs with fewer technical skills will face rough going in the future.

In terms of age, the young ones face particular risks compared to their more experienced especially at the beginning of their careers. Young people are the ones with jobs that will more likely to be affected by machine learning, robots and artificial intelligence. While young people may still have more time to acquire relevant expertise, only a few are getting training in Science and Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. The young workforce’s ability to withstand any employment alteration will more likely be limited.

In terms of race, technology will also have a great impact on how racial minorities will face dismal job opportunities. Poor people and minorities already have high unemployment rates due to discrimination, lack of training and prejudice. Additionally, without high skill training, minorities and poor people will have difficulty adapting to the new economy where advanced machines and technologies take their jobs.

Technology, robots and artificial intelligence are undoubtedly increasing the impact on how humans live, work and play. In the workplace, it will force humans to question each day of how, when and where to connect with people. The employers should need to find the perfect balance in the workplace by means of adapting to technologies that will help their business become more efficient and deliver faster service and better products.

 

Fan Page Robot: Does it Really Work?

By Christine Trimbur

IZPO and Associates

Fan Page Robot is a tool for social media automation. It will help you save enormous amounts of time managing your various social media accounts as well as grow your audience.

Basically, Fab Page Robot scours the internet for viral content. Then, when it finds articles, videos, or images that are trending, it automatically posts them on your social media accounts. It only takes a few minutes to set up and chooses the best hashtags as well as the best time to post the content. It’s so simple, even a total beginner can use it.

Pros to Using Fan Page Robot:

  • It saves time.
  • It manages multiple accounts.
  • It is user-friendly with no learning curve.
  • It is relatively inexpensive.
  • It is totally automated for creating social media campaigns.

Cons to Using Fan Page Robot:

  • Boosting your traffic through buying likes and shares (which is not recommended) is only optional.
  • There is no free trial.

Who is Fan Page Robot Designed For?

Fan Page Robot can be a very useful tool for anyone who would like to manage his or her social media accounts effectively. It’s particularly great for beginners since it is so simple to use. It does all the hard work for you. It also saves a lot of time for those with multiple accounts and takes away the need for hours of research.

What Is Included?

Fan Page Robot has 5 main sections inside the program.

  1. Posts: You have the ability to create and schedule your posts as well as find the best hashtags to have the maximum reach.
  2. Content Generator: Using a keyword, you can search for viral content that can then be posted on your social media accounts.
  3. Content Mixer: Fan Page Robot locates and posts viral content automatically.
  4. ly Campaigns: You can create custom URLs that will appear as your call to action on other people’s websites that you share on your page.

Fan Page Robot Support

The only way to contact Fan Page Robot support is through email. The turnaround time is generally 1-2 days. Note: those who purchase the unlimited plan have priority when contacting support.

Cost

There are two basic plans:

  • Pro Plan: $14.95 per month
    • Manage up to 3 Facebook pages
    • Manage up to 36 other social media pages
  • Unlimited Plan: $39.00 per month
    • Manage unlimited number of pages on 10 different platforms.

Conclusion

This tool can save you enormous amounts of time researching as well as posting content to your social media platforms. It is so simple anyone can use it. It will expand your audience and grow your online presence. Therefore, it is essential to anyone looking to use social media platforms more effectively.

4 Alternative Streaming TV services to Amazon Fire TV

We know of television content having being transmitted to our television sets through antennas, and then through cable and set-top boxes. The spread of the internet and the increasing bandwidth it is offering now have given rise to the efforts of using the internet to transmit television and video content directly to televisions. These transmissions would need the user to own a Smart TV, and subscribers have been lapping up Streaming TV over the last few years.

How and When Amazon Fire TV Started Off – a Short Introduction

One of the most popular providers of Streaming TV is Amazon, which started off with Amazon Video in 2006 (a year after the popular video sharing website YouTube was launched). At this point, Amazon named its product as Unbox in the United States of America. Almost a decade later (in 2014), it launched its digital media player Amazon Fire TV worldwide.

Streaming TV services like Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV is not the only one in this arena. We bring you all the details of some other good services in this genre. Let’s check them out:

1. Chromecast 2nd Generation

There is no denying the appeal of Chromecast. Since its arrival in 2013, Chromecast has captivated the audience through its sheer simplicity. Chromecast 2 was an improvement, by all accounts. Today, 3 years after its launch, Chromecast 2 still remains one of our favorites for streaming stuff on the TV.
Features:

• Fast Play: Google solved one of the biggest reasons behind user disengagement i.e. buffering. While buffering is largely dependent on the user’s internet connection, Chromecast 2 ensures that the ire doesn’t fall on it. The “Fast Play” feature starts buffering the content that is next on your watch list. This means that the next episode you are going to watch is getting buffered while you watch the current one.

• Gaming: One of the issues with the original Chromecast was the lack of any games for passing the time when nothing is being streamed. Casting games on the big screen wasn’t exactly a fun due to the lag. But this was solved in Chromecast 2 with multiplayer games that effectively use the TV as the screen and the mobile phones as the consoles. It’s an old concept, but Google was quite wise to use it here.

• Updated App: A major disappointment since the release of Chromecast in 2013 was the Chromecast app. For a device that aimed to provide cutting-edge entertainment, the app was really a drag. But we have come a long way since then, and the Chromecast app today is awesome. From better UI to useful features like compatible app suggestions, the updated app is really a feature on its own.
Drawbacks:

People expecting Google to introduce 4K support in Chromecast would be disappointed as the giant reserved that feature for the Chromecast Ultra.
There is no remote control provided with the device, which could be a major turn off to many people.

Verdict:

There is simply no other way to say that Google Chromecast 2 is amazing. The flaws are trivial when compared to the enormous features. The sleek design is a major improvement over the previous version of the series. Many new features were intrigued that makes it an appealing choice for people just venturing into the world of TV streaming. Despite all this, the price of Chromecast 2 is the same as Chromecast and fall in the lower end of the market. It is a must-have for beginners.

2. Apple TV

Like most other technologies, Apple ventured into digital media player before it was cool. In 2007, the first Apple TV device was launched and introduced the world to the possibility of TV streaming. More than a decade later, Apple TV still stands strong in this sector. While the latest offering was the Apple TV 4K, we are sticking here with its previous version: the 4ht Gen Apple TV (you will know why). Let’s take a look at this product from the iconic company.

Features:

• Bring Out the Gamer: Apple wasn’t going to let their users be bored when not streaming. The device allows you to convert your phones into consoles and play games on the big screen. Third-party MFi controllers are also compatible, so you can bring the Nintendo Wii nostalgia back.

• Tailor-Made for the Apple Users: If you are a big Apple fan and own either or all Apple devices like iPad, iPhone or Mac OS, the Apple TV would be a great addition to the entire Apple ecosystem. The AirPlay feature allows you to mirror your iPhone/iPad just like Android casting.

• Vast App Library: From the entertainment perspective, this is pure gold. The Apple TV OS supports a huge library of apps, ranging over multiple genres. With the power of App Store, you can have unlimited entertainment on your TV. The support for third-party apps just makes things sweeter.

• New App: Apple is notorious for discontinuing support for previous versions once the latest version hits the market. Something similar was expected with the launch of Apple.

Drawbacks:

• Cost: In comparison to the features available in other streaming TV services, the cost of Apple TV is a bit high.
• Remote: Remote is not added as a part of the package. So, you will need to buy it separately.
• Once again, Apple shows little regard for users who are not loyal customers of the brand. To get the full experience of Apple TV like apps and mirroring, you need an Apple ecosystem or at least an iPhone at the bare minimum.

Verdict:

Many gadget geeks feel that the world has just two kinds of people – the ones who swear by Apple, and the rest. If you belong to the former category, then you will love this product. The huge library of content, the nod towards gaming, and the obvious quality of Apple hardware and software makes Apple TV a great product.

3. Nvidia Shield TV

This Android-based streaming system has been around since 2015. Although it carries 4K capability, the primary focus seems to be on the gamers. There is no doubt that the gaming features we see on the current version are vastly improved and is way ahead of the competition. But let us read on to see if the other features are also as impressive.

Features:

• Distinct Styling: The Shield is very stylishly designed, and it gives your living room a smart look. The lines of Shield TV are not exactly rectangular. The set’s top has a triangular shape and is fitted with the power light. You will see trapezoids on both sides as well as the back. Only the front and right panels are in the traditional rectangular shape. Normally, you would set it flat on a desk or table, but in case you want to enjoy its vertical looks, you can add on a vertical stand.

• Gaming: For serious gamers, the Nvidia Shield TV is a boon. The game controller has a sleek design to die for, incorporating many new changes while keeping the best of the earlier versions. It also is voice instruction enabled. The strong mic ensures that you can sit back and speak to the controller kept on a table in front of you.

• Remote: You get the remote control as a part of the package, unlike the earlier version where you needed to purchase the remote separately. The remote that is compatible with the device is equipped with a tiny mic into which you can speak to for running a voice search. The remote is slightly longer than 5 inches. The design is unchanged from the earlier remote – the four directions marked on a circular pad, along with a Back button and a Home button.

• Bandwidth: Shield TV is built to carry 4K content, and it looks to be one of the most powerful streaming TV services in the 4K segment. It can support video streaming sent from mobile devices. The 4K bandwidth also allows you to get the most detailed gaming functions in the same class.

• Voice: Shield TV comes with voice-enabled Google Assistant as a part of the system, which can be used hands-free. This allows you to use the Shield TV just like Google Home. What’s more, the replies from Google Assistant will be audible to you and also be displayed on the screen as text and graphics. You can directly instruct Shield TV to open a particular app by using the Google Assistant.

Drawbacks:

• Memory: After the Android and the other local apps have been factory installed, you might find the remaining free memory a little insufficient. The good thing is that it works very well with most of the external drives available on the market.

• Cost: You might find a few other devices which seem to promise more or less similar features at the same price. But with Shield, you have the assurance of a trusted brand.

Verdict:

There might be some other devices which will stream content equally efficiently at a lesser price. But when you consider the gaming experience offered by Nvidia, then it shoots ahead of all the competitors. Additionally, the presence of Google Assistant makes this a great buy even at its cost.

4. Roku Ultra

This is (so far) the most high-end offering from the house of Roku, and it is borne out by the price tag. We will look at the features which contribute to this price, but there is a more cost-effective alternative – the Streaming Stick +. The Ultra supports 4K and also HDR, and you will love its feature-packed body.

Features:

• Remote: The remote will remind you of the erstwhile TV remotes, with a number of buttons of different sizes and colors. A good thing I liked is the dedicated single-touch buttons for some of the more popular apps like Hulu, Netflix, HBO Now, etc. This remote can also be used as a gamepad because of its motion sensors. But this is possible only for a few of the games in the Roku Channel Store, not all. Finally, it carries a very useful headphone jack, which can allow you to watch content without disturbing anyone.

• Streaming Quality: The Roku Ultra supports 4K streaming and this enhanced video output makes it popular with the users. It also supports one (HDR10) of the two streaming standards for high dynamic range, but it doesn’t support Dolby. The 4K picture quality is as crisp and clear as you would expect, and the Ultra also allows real-time responses to buttons. You can quickly navigate the menu options, and the different apps do not take forever to load.

• Roku Channel Store: This feature is really one of the pros of this device. You name any app or channel, and you will find it at the Roku Channel Store. If you are an Apple user, though, one service you might miss is iTunes, because that is available only on Apple TV. Otherwise, you can find everything related to sports, news, technology and all other segments.

• Other accessories: At the price you are paying, the Roku Ultra doesn’t only give you great content at awesome speeds, but it also provides several accessories for which you would have to pay if you used other service providers or products. You get USB and Ethernet ports as well as an HDMI port. The remote has a great feature which enables it to let off a beep sound when a small button on the top panel is pressed. Goodbye to the frantic searching for the remote!!

Drawbacks:

• Dolby: This is one missing feature that allows a few competitors to go ahead. Roku only works with HDR10. The only redeeming point here is that many channels do not use Dolby, so for them, HDR10 is just fine.

• Cost: At first glance, the higher absolute price tag might sound like a drawback. But as detailed above, the Roku Ultra offers many useful features and accessories which would have cost money otherwise.

Verdict:

At its price, the Roku Ultra is a much better version than the earlier offerings from Roku. Also, the quality of content and the useful remote makes it just perfect for enjoying streaming TV content. We would be happy to recommend the Roku Ultra.

Wrapping Up:

As we said earlier, the Streaming TV market is all set to see the introduction of newer players soon. When you need to make a choice, start off by first selecting the platform that suits your preferences. Within that platform, compare the features and specifications of different offerings. Then comes the cost of the streaming TV service, which is always an important factor. Once you have made an assessment of specs versus cost, you are ready to get your baby home!

Curating Content: Repurposing Your Content

By Christine Trimbur

We all know that content is king. Without good, quality content, you will lose readers. And losing readers means losing revenue.

But how do you find the time to create high quality content? Creating epic posts can take hours to do. And if you are a small business owner, there are a lot of things much higher on the totem pole of necessity than creating content for a blog site. If you’re a marketer of any kind, you are now required to generate more and more content for clients.

So, what do you do when you don’t have hours and hours each week to generate content? Repurpose content you’ve already created.

I know, I know. It seems to go against all content marketing advice. And there is good reason to be concerned. Google is quick to punish duplicate content very heavily. In fact, it’s one of the biggest no-nos in online and SEO marketing.

However, repurposing old content is a bit different. This involves breaking up your existing content and placing it in a new format. For example, you could turn blog posts into an ebook or videos into podcasts.

Our world is a noisy place. Pretty much everything you’re going to say has already been said – multiple times. So, trying to produce fresh, new, unique content over and over is extremely tiresome.

This strategy will breathe new life into your old content and let you cast a wider net on multiple marketing channels.

What Content Should You Use?

The first step in repurposing content is discovering the right content to repurpose. There are three main types of content that you have already produced that will work for repurposing:

1. Your most popular content.
These are posts, webinars, or interviews that drove a lot of traffic to your website. These are also the ones that got the best feedback from your audience.

2. Content with the most engagement.
This is the content that struck a particular cord with your audience. They’re the posts that stirred the pot and sparked a reaction. This will be content with the most likes, comments, shares, and interaction. These posts show that your audience wants to see more content from you.

3. Evergreen content.
Your business likely has content that never changes. No matter how many years go by since you produced it, the subject still continues to be relevant. It’s evergreen and can be repurposed easily into another piece of helpful information for your audience.

Repurposing Content Smartly
Now that you have your content in hand, it’s time to start the reworking process. It doesn’t matter what format your content is in – video, blog post, or podcast – you now have the opportunity to turn that content into something completely new and compelling.

Here are seven ideas to help you start:

1. Turn webinars into short videos.
After a webinar, you usually have about an hour-long video of your most recent brain dump. This video contains great nuggets of information that can be reused for other purposes.

Instead of allowing your webinar to hit home that one time, split it up into smaller clips. There is a lot of technology available to help with this. Then once you have your bite-sized clips, put them on YouTube. Optimize them by using titles such as “How to…” or “XYZ Guide to…” You will get a lot more exposure from different audiences looking for the exact information you are supplying. You can then add these shorter videos to your website as a resource for readers.

2. Combine old blog posts into guides.
Usually, blog posts have a very narrow focus. They offer very specific information concerning a particular aspect of your product or service. However, if you bring several of these posts together, the result will be a lengthy, helpful, informative guide. Add a simple introduction and conclusion and you’re all set with a new product to sell.

3. Use statistics as social media posts.
If you already put together a post stuffed with statistics and compelling information, simply pull those statistics out of the post and use them as quick and simple social media posts.

Statistics are very eye-catching. They tell your audience a story and establish your credibility in your field. By using them to back a point you’ve made on social media, you can redirect them to your blog for further reading.

4. Turn blog posts into an email series.
If you are looking to grow your email list, offer a free, informative series of emails by simply repurposing old blog posts and turning them into an e-course.

No one will ever read everything you’ve written on your site. Which means that they will miss some of your best work if you don’t place it square in front of their nose. An email series is a great way to accomplish this.

5. Turn your video into a podcast.
Podcasts are some of the hottest content marketing tools available today. People are listening to more and more podcasts on their daily commute, while walking the dog, or when they are out running.

Use your most fun and entertaining evergreen videos on your YouTube channel and turn them into a podcast.

6. Create an expert advice e-book out of podcast interviews.
You’ve likely interviewed experts from time to time on your podcast. And these interviews are pure gold.

People love to hear information from big names and successful people. However, there are those who don’t listen to podcasts. Therefore, to reach a wider audience, you should turn those interviews into an ebook with the promise of expert advice on a particular topic.

7. Turn blog posts into an infographic.
Infographics aren’t new. Even so, these images remain one of the hottest forms of content available online. They have evolved, though. There are three main trends driving new ways of storytelling for infographics:
• Modular design.
In other words, breaking down infographics into smaller sections so that they can be viewed all together or as individual pieces.
• Storytelling.
Infographics can be used as a guide on a particular web page. Businesses control the story being told through the imagery and with compelling copy.
• Divisible content.
Soon, infographics will be repurposed into new forms of content, like blog posts or presentations. If you are able to divide the content of your infographic up, you can then add sections of it to other forms of content.

Repurposing is a smart way of revitalizing your content. It will help you maximize your reach and turn your information into something exciting for your audience.

Why Most People Fail to Make Money Online

By Christine Trimbur

There are several assumptions related to why people fail at making money online. But as we all know, assumptions are often wrong.

The first assumption is that most people fail to make money online because they are lazy. The idea is that those who fail are given a great way to make money but fail to take the appropriate action so the conclusion is that they must be lazy.

However, this assumption is completely wrong.

Take this example:

A very successful video marketer makes tens of thousands of dollars promoting others’ products and builds a bit of recognition for himself using YouTube videos. Then he releases a “tell all” program explaining how he accomplished this. Others purchase these instructional videos, watch them carefully, try their hand at it, and then fail. Are they lazy? Absolutely not.

The reality is that not everyone is comfortable in front of a camera. And even if someone is, he may not have the same charisma and camera presence that the successful video marketer has. Thus, the one trying fails to impress his audience and isn’t able to make any money at it. The bottom line is that any form of money making is just not a good fit for everyone. The key is to figure out what gifts and talents you have and then use those to make money online.

The second assumption is that people fail to make money because they are impatient. They are seen as someone who jumps from one thing to the next without ever giving anything a real chance.

More often than not, however, the “proven” money making program failed to maintain the interest of the buyer of that product. Think of it this way: some people aren’t surgeons not because they don’t have the intelligence but because they simply are not interested in pursuing that line of work once they discover the amount of work and time it requires.

It is true that anyone who is successful at making money online did not achieve his success overnight. In fact, many successful online entrepreneurs where the same ones who struggled in the past. The difference is these successful online money makers finally connected with a method and then got really good at it.

The true problem behind the rationale of any money making system is that they advertise themselves as for everyone which in reality is not true. The key is to find what interests you and then go for it.

The third assumption is that people fail to make money online because of short attention spans or focus. There are those who with ADD or ADHD who really do struggle with maintaining their attention on singular things. However, this is an exception rather than the rule.

Generally, the attention spans of most people have been reduced because of the increase in distractions all around us. There is so much technology, so many ways to connect, and so much noise being generated everywhere we look that it is no wonder we have a hard time focusing on one thing.

However, when we connect with something we have a passion for, we’re able to filter out all the other noise to concentrate on that passion. If you don’t really have a passion or connection with the online money making system, you will fail and seem to have a short attention span. The key is to discover your passion and then find a system or develop one yourself that lines up with your passion.

There are so many other assumptions about why people fail to make money online. The list of reasons is endless: education levels, network connections, location, financial resources, opportunities, etc.

The real issue involves what happens within each individual. If you don’t believe in yourself and that you can actually make money online, then you won’t. If you believe it won’t work, then it won’t work for you. If you believe there must be an easier way to do it, you’ll keep looking for it, whether or not that easier way actually exists.

The bottom line is that the number one reason why people fail to make money online has more to do with their self-esteem than anything else. If you find yourself doubting most things that have been presented to you, struggling to make things work for you, not trusting others, or find it difficult to make friends, you are likely dealing with low self-esteem. And until your self-esteem issues are address, you will find it nearly impossible to make any online money making system work for you.

If you are struggling with low self-esteem, find a reputable expert or counselor to talk to. Then stick with it through the healing process. You’ll be glad you did.